Washington Examiner: Debate guns, but conversation can't end there

Published: December 18, 2012
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So Lanza used his mother's guns instead, which raises another issue. Setting aside any Second Amendment considerations, there are nearly nine privately owned firearms in America today for every 10 people, according to the Small Arms Survey. Short of universal gun confiscation — which even after this horrific event does not justify — it could be decades before any new gun control laws have a noticeable effect, if even then.

Some five decades ago, D.C. public high school students kept rifles in their lockers for school-sanctioned competitive shooting. The fact that this seems absurd today is a sign of how people have changed. The guns have always been with us, but America seems to be producing a lot more silently violent people now — think of Kip Kinkel, Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and the boy in Oklahoma who was arrested Friday, accused of plotting a copycat crime.

A disturbing number from their generation — many of whom have never harmed anyone — seem to have emerged from childhood lacking in basic social skills, control of emotions, respect for authority, or any sense of clear boundaries about how to treat other people. Maybe it's too simple to blame bad parenting, family breakdown, the decline of religious faith and the robust social structure that churches create, or the increasingly amoral depiction of violence in popular films and on television. But they may all play a role.

By all means, debate guns, but the conversation cannot stop there. It needs to hit closer to home, about the responsibility of parents, teachers and Hollywood to respect the values that America once took for granted.

— The Washington Examiner



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